This article was written for, but has not appeared in, the Western Morning News’s West Magazine on January 5


There’s a long association of brewers supporting good causes, whether through fundraising beer festivals or fundraising brews. 2018, for example, saw Devon’s Otter Brewery supporting the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal for a ninth year – an arrangement which has so far yielded more than £12,000.

In Cornwall, Sharp’s became a major partner of Cornwall Air Ambulance’s New Heli Appeal, which is looking to bring a next-generation helicopter into service in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by April 2020. In a previous six-year association, the company has already raised more than £12,000 to keep the air ambulance flying. Arriving from Hampshire 30 years ago this year, the air ambulance was the first Cornish charity I became aware of — we didn’t have such a service back home then.

Of course, one of our best-known charities down this way is a national one, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which has become part of so many of our lives. That’s the reason why Salcombe Brewery has chosen to support this much-loved charity throughout 2019. The link-up ties in with the 150th anniversary of the South Hams town getting its own lifeboat station.

Brewery owner, John Tiner, explains: “Salcombe’s first lifeboat station was established in 1869, so 2019 marks 150 years to saving lives. We are keen to raise awareness of the invaluable role that the RNLI has played in our community for the last century and a half, and to raise funds to support them in the continuation of this work.

“We are committed to giving back to our local area and are thrilled to have the opportunity to support such an important cause. In 2019, we will be donating five pence to the RNLI for every draught pint sold of our much-loved and aptly-named Lifesaver.”

This should do well for the charity, as Lifesaver is a lovely bronze-coloured, strongish bitter. Coming in at 4.8% ABV. With a pleasant malty flavour, notes of citrus and orange peel gently fade into a subtle liquorish and toffee character, with a pleasant floral finish.

It’s a time of year when we naturally remember the bravery of our lifeboat crews, it being just days since the anniversary of the loss of the Penlee boat, Solomon Browne, when its crew set out in ferocious weather to aid the crew of the stricken Union Star. And as spring and summer return, so the lifeboat teams will again find themselves regularly called upon to come to the aid of those on the water.

The Salcombe lifeboat station has a team of 42 local men and women — 26 sea-going and 15 shore-based, with a medical adviser. They operate two vessels — a 25-knot Tamar class all-weather lifeboat, The Baltic Exchange III, and a 35-knot B class inshore lifeboat, Gladys Hilda Mustoe.

This station, and the other 237 around the UK, rely solely on funding from the public and campaign’s such as Salcombe Brewery’s — there’s no cash from the government, even though it can justifiably be argued that it’s an emergency service.

Salcombe RNLI’s Mark Dowie said: “We are thrilled to have joined forces with Salcombe Brewery Co. Every penny that they donate will directly help us to save lives. We would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Salcombe Brewery Co for their support.” As, indeed, would others who find themselves in need of help from this South Devon team of volunteers this year.


Beer of the week


Black Tor ResolutionFor many brewers, the cycle of seasonal beers is kicking off again. For Dartmoor-based Black Tor, this means a fresh batch of New Zealand Wakatu-hopped Resolution, with zesty lime, and tongue-tingling herbal notes. Dry January? No thanks.


Try something new


Don’t forget, as mentioned previously, Tryanuary is now under way. Instead to doing Dry January and leaving landlords leaning on the bar, drumming their fingers, try – in moderation, of course – something different. This could be the month you discover the joys of IPA or stout and kick off a year of interesting tastings…


Way out west


Marston’s is opening its westernmost pub, at the Trevenson Gateway development, between Camborne and Pool. It’s going to be very food driven, but you should be able to find favourites from the Midlands brewer there, such as distinctive pale ale Pedigree.

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